Africa rugby teams put up a stellar performance in the just finished Singapore leg of the HSBC World Rugby Men’s 7s tournament with Kenya winning the Cup Final for the first time ever by beating log leaders Fiji by an pressive 30 points to 7.
South Africa who is currently second on the 2016 standings managed to secure the third place by beating Argentina by 28 points.
Fiji who is leading the 2016 log with 147 points compared to South Africa’s 137 and New Zealand’s 135 points is well placed to win the 2016 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with only the Paris and London rounds left to play.
Sevens Rugby will also compete in this year’s Rio Olympics for the first time since Rugby’s last appearance at the Olympics in 1924.
The World Rugby Chairman, Bernard Lapasset of France, made the readmission of rugby into the sporting programme of the Olympic Games one of his top priorities.
Following a concerted campaign by World Rugby, Member Unions, Regional Associations and the global Rugby family, Rugby made the shortlist of potential sports for inclusion on the Summer Olympic Sports Programme.
At the 121st IOC Session in Copenhagen in October 2009, IOC members voted overwhelmingly in favour of Rugby Sevens inclusion on the Olympic Games Sports Programme for 2016 and 2020, 81 votes in favour with only eight against.
This historic achievement meant that the world's top Men’s and Women's Rugby players would now have the opportunity to compete for an Olympic Gold medal, the pinnacle of sporting achievement.
According to the President of the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU), Mr. Herbert Mensah, there is no reason why Ghana cannot in the very near future compete in the HSBC Men’s 7s series to be followed by a spot in the 2020 Olympics.
“Ghana is currently busy preparing for its Africa Rugby Men’s 7s tournament slated to be played in Lome, Togo on the 28th of May 2016 and we are leaving no stone unturned to ensure an excellent performance and result that will make Ghanaians proud of our national Rugby team, the Eagles,” he said.
The West Africa men’s 7s tournament will see Ghana compete against Niger, Mali, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso.
The Ghana Phase I training squad consists of 25 players from the teams who competed in the 2015/16 Ghana Rugby Club Championship (GRCC) who are undergoing a very stringent training programme that focuses on fitness and physical conditioning.
The technical team led by Mr. Mensah consists of the head coaches of Conquerors SC (Mr. Simba Mangena), Griffons RFC (Mr. Clement Dennis), Cosmos Buffaloes RFC (Mr. Amuzuloh Salim) and Mr. Dan Hoppe from Idas RFC.
Mr. Simba Mangena said that Rugby is a fast growing sport in the country and that the GRFU in collaboration with World Rugby have launched an outreach programme called “Get Into Rugby” which is responsible for introducing the game at grassroots level countrywide.
“This initiative will grow the game and eventually improve the available talent pool for our national teams. Kenya has proven that Africa has the capacity to dominate at the world stage. This feat by them was not achieved overnight but came as a result of years of hard work, exposure, perseverance and national support. As Ghana Rugby we are inspired to follow in their footsteps and we welcome partnerships with corporates and the nation at large. Together we can build competent national teams which we will all take pride in,” Mr. Mangena said.
According to Mr. Mensah Ghana has the potential to play Rugby at much higher levels but that will require substantial investment in the sport. He also expressed his gratitude to those corporates who have come forward to support the development of Rugby in Ghana.
“The future of Ghana Rugby will be very dependent on the success of the school youth development programme under World Rugby’s ‘Get Into Rugby’ banner and we have committed resources to that end. A lot more, however, is needed and we once again extend an invitation to our corporate bodies to discuss how they and Ghana Rugby can form a win-win partnership,” he said at a training session in Legon.